17 JULY 1830, Page 18


OF all professional men, the physician is perhaps the most de- servedly esteemed. His ready intercourse with every rank of the community, gives a frankness of demeanour—his necessary*, jection to the fretfulness and complaints of languishment and disease, a patience and kindliness of temper—and the close and constant observation requisite in the pursuit of his important labours, a soundness and discrimination of judgment—that renders a physician the most pleasing and amiable of companions. The ' followers of Esculapius seek not in their selfish benevolence to condemn' nine in order to enhance the happiness of the tenth ; they establish no man's health on the sickness of his fellow ; their grand object and study is the redemption of all the sons of Adam, Jew and Greek, bond and free, from the numerous and sore evils of the flesh. Yet the history of medical men presents few points for the biographer. We can trace their course by its beneficent effects ; but we must be content, for the most part, to do so as we trace the rivu- let by the greenness of its banks, while the retiring agent by which so much beauty is produced glides on unseen in silence and obscurity. There is, besides, in the subject of a physician's study so much natural and superinduced complexity, that life is spent in obser- vation, before a theory of disease can be formed, which the cus- toms and habits of the next generation of men shall not render inapplicable. The history of medical discovery is far from satis- factory. From the days of its great founder downward, it pre- sents a series of oscillatory rather than progressive movements. The specifics of our fathers have disappeared with their Vandyke dresses ; and many forms of treatment, which are now extolled, are destined, in the days of our children, to be gathered with bustles and bishop-sleeves to the great limbo of human inutilities. It is, indeed, humiliating to medical science, to observe the small amount and dubious value of its discoveries. The hand of the mechanic has effected more than the head of the philosopher. The long and learned list of chemical solvents yield the palm to the forceps and detritor of Baron HE URTE LOUP, and Wsiss's pump triumphs over MEAD'S learned and elaborate essay. But though medicine has made slow progress, it has not been entirely station- .say ; and an account of those who have principally contributed to its advancement is neither useless nor uninteresting. The volume of the Family Library which is devoted to this purpose contains the lives of eighteen individuals, of varied accomplishments and fame, commencing with LINACRE and ending with Dr. Gooch. Among the great masters of their art, we have HARVEY, SYDENHAM, MEAD, CULLEN, and JENNER. The learning of BROWNE has of course given him a prominent place, as has the botanical dis- coveries. of FOTHERGILL. BROWN and SYDENHAM'S lives had already been written by JOHNSON, with an elegance and vigour which their present biographer seems to have well appreciated Of the other lives, RADCLIFFE'S is the most amusing, and JEN- 11ER'S the most interesting. Some names are introduced that might have been spared 0. and a far greater number that we ex- pected to find are omitted. The anecdotes Which we have gleaned from this little volume have all been told before, but they will probably be new to some of our readers., Some of them we suspect to be of that common kind which are successively appropriated by every man who is of consequence enough with the public to have his good things repeated and remembered.

LIBERALITY OF OXFORD.—When the new and more correct method of pronouncing Greek was first introduced (1500), the Grecians themselves were divided into parties; and it was remarked that the Catholics favoured the former pronunciation, while the Protestants gave countenance to the new. Gardiner employed the authority of the king and council to sup- press innovations in this particular, and to preserve the corrupt sound of the Greek alphabet,—so little liberty was then allowed of any kind ! The penalties inflicted upon the new pronunciation, were no less than whip- ping, degradation, and expulsion ; and the bishop declared that, rather than permit the liberty of innovating in the pronunciation of the Greek alphabet, it was better that the language itself were totally banished the university. TREATMENT OF QUACKS IN STOWE'S TIME.—" A counterfeit doctor," says he, " was set on horseback, his face to the horse's tail, the same tail in his hand as a bridle, a collar ofjordans about his neck, a whetstone on his breast, and so led through the city of London, with ringing of basins, and banished. Such deceivers," continues the chronicler, " no doubt, are many, who, being never trained up in reading or practice of physick and chirurgery, do boast to doe great cures, especially upon women, as to make them. straight that before were crooked, corbed, or crumped in any part of their bodies, &c. But the contrary is true, for some have received gold, when they have better deserved the whet. stone."

A ROWLAND FOR AN OLIVER.—Dr. Radcliffe would never be brought to pay bills without much following and importunity ; nor even then, if there appeared any chance of wearying out his creditors. A pavier, after long and fruitless attempts, caught him just getting out of his chariot at his own door, in Bloomsbury Square, and set upon him. " Why, you rascal," said the doctor, " do you pretend to be paid for such a piece of work? whys you have spoiledmy pavement, and then covered it over se;:li

• Lives of British Physicians. Family Library, No. XIV. London, 1830.

I- The following trash appears in the life of Gooch. " This year he lived in the same house with his former associates Fearon and Southey, and became acquainted with his future friend and patron, Dr. now Sir William Knighton. Gooch was not slow to appreciate the profound sagacity and commanding power over the "minds of others which so remarkably characterize this (that) distinguished person." With bow many valets de chambre and waiting gentlewomen does the profoundly sagacious Sir William Knighton share the commanding power which the biogra- her, in his intense admiration of wealth and place, deems so remarkable

earth to hide your bad work." " Doctor," said the pavier, " mine is not the only bad work that the earth hides." "You dog, you," said Radcliffe, " are you a wit ?—you must be poor—come in ;" and paid him.

DR. BAILLIE.—During his latter years, when he had retired from all but consultation practice, and had ample time to attend to each individual cases

he was very deliberate, tolerant, and willing to listen to whatever was said to him by the patient ; but, at an earlier period, in the hurry of great business, when his day's work, as he was used to say, amounted to sixteen hours„ he was sometimes rather irritable, and betrayed a want of temper in hearing the tiresome details of an unimportant story. After listening, with torture, to a prosing account from a lady, who ailed so little that she was going to the Opera that evening, he had happily escaped from the room, when he was urgently requested to step up stairs again ; it was to ask him whether, on her return from the Opera, she might eat some oysters : " Yes, Ma'am," said Baillie, " shells and all."

GENIUS AND TALENT.—A few years only before Dr. Baillie's death, during a visit which the late Professor Gregory of Edinburgh made to London, these two eminent countrymen, equally distinguished in their respective departments, conversed together on several occasions ; and the judgment they jocosely passed upon each other was expressed in the fol. lowing manner :—" Baillie," said the accomplished and classical professor, "knows nothing but physic." " Gregory," exclaimed the skilful and experienced London practitioner, " seems to me to know every thing but physic." MEDICAL RECEIPTS.—The receipts of Dr. Parry's first year, 1780, were 391. 19s.; of his second, 1781, 701. 78.; of 1782, 1121. 7s.; of 1783, 1621.5s.; 1784, 2391. Si.; of 1785, 4431. 10s.; of 1786, 5521. 9s. ; of 1787, 755/ 6s. ; of 1788, 1333/. 15s. From the tenth year of his practice, the amount ra- pidly increased, and appears to have varied from 3001. to above 6001. per month. Of one day, the receipts for separate attendances were fifty guineas. EFFECTS OF HARD FIGHTING.—While Gooch was with Mr. Borrett the attack upon Copenhagen took place, and on the return of Lord Nelson, the wounded were placed in the Naval Hospital at Yarmouth. Being ac- quainted with some of the young surgeons, Gooch, though then but a boy, was not unfrequently at the hospital. " I was (he says in a letter written long afterwards) at the Naval Hospital at Yarmouth, on the morning when Nelson, after the battle at Copenhagen (having sent the wounded before him), arrived at the roads, and landed on the jetty. The populace soon surrounded him, and the military were drawn up in the market-place ready to receive him, but making his way through the dust and the crowd and the clamour, he went straight to the hospital. I went round the wards with him, and was much interested in observing his de- meanour to the sailors : he stopped at every bed, and to every man he had something kind and cheering to say ; at length he stopped opposite a bed on which a sailor was lying, who had lost his right arm close to the shoulder joint, and the following short dialogue passed between them. Nelson—' Well, Jack, what's the matter with you ?' Sailor—' Lost my right arm, your honour.' Nelson paused, looked down at his own empty sleeve, then at the sailor, and said, playfully, Well, Jack, then you and I are spoiled for fishermen—cheer up, my brave fellow And he passed briskly on to the next bed ; but these few words had a magical effect upon the poor fellow, for I saw his eyes sparkle with delight as Nelson turned away and pursued his course through the wards."